Washington Spirit doesn't allow former Pilot soccer standout to protest

By Hunter Jacobson | September 7, 2016 11:33pm

by Hannah Baade / The Beacon

The Washington Spirit made a decision that prevented former Pilots soccer standout, current USWNT and Seattle Reign star Megan Rapinoe from protesting on Wednesday night.

On Sept. 4, Rapinoe made headlines for following in San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s footsteps by kneeling during the anthem. After that game, she vowed she would continue to knee from that match going forward.

The Spirit ownership made the executive decision to play the national anthem before any players were in the field on Wednesday to prevent Rapinoe from taking a knee while the Star Spangled Banner played.

“We decided to play the anthem in our stadium ahead of schedule rather than subject our fans to the disrespect we feel such an act would represent,” the Spirit said in a statement.

They also stated that Rapinoe was “hijacking” their event to promote a “personal—albeit worthy—cause.”

The statement noted that the Spirit owner, Bill Lynch, has lost several friends in conflicts overseas and that the organization feels that, “there are better ways to begin a conversation about a cause than tarnishing a tradition that is so important to so many.”

When Rapinoe first took a knee during the National Anthem before the Seattle Reign faced off against the Chicago Red Stars, she later said that taking a knee was “very intentional” and saying that, as a gay American, she understood “what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all your liberties.”

Rapinoe played for the Pilots from 2005-2008 and won a national championship in 2005.